Masked Dancer on Stilts
Chakaba (pronounced shah-kah-bah) is the traditional African practice of wearing a sacred spirit mask while dancing on stilts. The practice goes by many names, depending on the African language that is spoken by the people.
One masked stilt-dancer explained it this way,
"My society calls it Nyon Kwoya (mask tall). It is known by that in Guinea. It is also known as Jacaba.
"It is called Agere in Nigeria. In Trinidad, they call it Moco Jumbie.
"In my society, called Nan Foule Mask Society, this particular mask comes forth to bless and dispel/chase away negativity.
"The tallness, the stilts, is a reminder to look up to the great things our ancestors did that came before us. It also represents maintaining balance in life.
"The mask and costume contains objects that are flora (plant), fauna (animal), mineral (earth), aqua (water, the sea), pants (man) and skirt (woman).
"It brings forth the concept that these things are important, and a healthy world must strive to be in balance with nature for harmony, peace and continuity.
"Nan Foule is a traditional secret society."
The dancer explained that traditional stilt dancers must remain nameless. So we are not allowed to give his name here.
Abubakr Kouyate books performances of the masked stilt dancer. An African storyteller is also available.
For more information, contact Abubakr.